dailybell: Second Week of May

Monday, May 19, 2008

Second Week of May

5/8 AM This Bird is Here Every Morning

LISTEN to one very persistent little bird.

5/9 PM More neighbors

The children from a few doors down came running out of the house as we were ringing the big bell in the car. They were so excited and they took turns ringing and ringing.

5/10 AM Just Listening

LISTEN to Saturday morning walking around in the backyard. It was a quiet, easy start to the day.

5/10 PM Celebrating Mothers' Day with Bells and Rock Band
Our next-door neighbors invited us out for Mothers’ Day dinner. Helen and her mother are both mothers. It turned out that Helen’s son, Jerry’s birthday was tomorrow. AND he will graduate from college next week. He will be 27. It was an honor to be invited to celebrate with them. It’s hard for everyone to communicate in their house since Helen’s mother only speaks Cantonese and Jerry only speaks English. Helen is the only one that understands what everyone is saying. Jerry understands the things his grandmother repeatedly tells him like – “He doesn’t work hard enough”. “He’s lazy”and other such encouraging statements. We finished the meal just in time to ring some bells out in front of the restaurant while Norman went to get the car.
Then Jerry invited us back to his room to play a video game called “Rock Band”.
Jerry is about to graduate from school with a major in communications and broadcast. For as long as we have known him, he has played video games. A lot of games and a lot of time. For years, if we woke up in the middle of the night, we would see his light on in the basement next door. He played all night. While going to school he worked in the summers beta testing video games. So when he invited us over to play, we were excited and curious.
The game has drum pads, guitar and a microphone for interfaces instead of a computer keyboard or joystick. Once we got familiar with the interfaces we played a few song. We were pretty terrible. At first we couldn’t even finish a song (you get points for rhythmic accuracy- at least in the easy mode). But we persevered and managed to get through Roxanne and “Gimme Shelter “(both selections from the easy menu). Norman was our singer; Jerry played drums, which is the only one of the interfaces that demands real and comparable skill to playing the actual instrument. Norman and I switched interfaces in the middle of the game so that I ended up playing the guitar with the long black haired wild man avatar and Norman was the gladiator woman. It was fun. I sure hope Jerry can find a job doing this.

5/11 AM Can't see, Might as Well Just Listen

I set the microphone in the backyard and then walked through the garage to the sidewalk out front where I and rang the ship’s bell. Pretty streetlights going out as I looked away.

5/11 PM Calling All Bells

Mardi called up about 15 minutes before the sun was due to set and asked what time we would be ringing bells. In twelve minutes, I told her. So I grabbed some bells and Norman waited on the sidewalk out front. She must be a fast walker because we still had a few minutes to set up the camera and choose bells before the sun went down when she arrived. My car was parked pretty far down the block so we treated a new neighbor to the loud-ish bell experience. I could see them through their living room window, and they didn’t seem to mind.

5/13 AM Dead Christmas Tree

Hopped out of bed, grabbed those old camel bells and started to hurry out the back door. As I was rushing past the bed, Norman asked for a bell so I ran back and snatched the loud and clear bell from Tijuana. Zip and zoom. Out and in. That was an energetic one.

5/14 PM Showtime and Sundown
Thea Farhadian performed at the Meridian Gallery this evening. It’s such a beautiful building and they are currently showing work by the interns and the teachers in the Intern Program.The Interns works are amazing and for sale. If you live in the Bay Area, go there and check it out. Thea’s concert was wonderful. She performed on her laptop using MAX/MSP and I know that she had been living in technical hell all week. But everything seemed to be working and she played for an hour. The piece, entitled “Tattoos and Other Markings” was surprisingly classical in structure and can be heard from this link. I loved it. Thank you and congratulations, Thea.

Since 8:00 performances usually begin 10- 15 minutes late, and the sunset was at 8:12, I had planned to sit in the back and quietly slip out to ring the bells and then return to my seat. However, when I mentioned the plan to Thea, she invited me to ring the bells before her performance and to include the audience. Tom Bickley who is the curator of the program made the introductions and we rang the bells. It was so lovely. Adria Ott who had rung bells with the interns this past winter shot the video. Thank you everyone!

5/15 PM Goodnight Bob
Going through Bob’s stuff in Sonoma. It was very, very hot today. 104°F. We ate dinner in the town of Sonoma and then walked around town, got some ice cream and went home. We spent the day going through Bob’s stuff- papers making categories for the papers mostly. Bob had often warned us that one of the dangers of growing old was “hardening of the categories”. Well, Bob certainly didn’t leave his things organized into any particular categories. I would say he was fluid about his categories right to the end. While happily avoiding a misc. category, we ended up with many, many others as we sorted through his papers: writings, other people’ writings, original artwork, patent, archival and original documents, medical, musings- (mostly scraps of paper), schedules, lists of names, correspondence, accolades, Clear Lake museum, Osher Fellow, Exploratorium exhibit lists, memories and improvements, etc. Spinning like your mind, I miss you, Bob. Here are a few links to Bob’s life and work:
Bob Miller's Light Walk
Reminiscence of an Explainer
Asymptotia- Remembering Bob Miller

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